Lucky losers Bourne/Hyden start well in Shanghai Grand Slam Main Draw

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-5-1 8:34:43

American qualifiers John Hyden and Tri Bourne set off to a brilliant start at the men's Main Draw of the US$800,000 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Shanghai Grand Slam as they pulled off a pair of upset wins to lead Pool E at the end of Wednesday's action.

The 28th-seeded Hyden/Bourne, who had failed to qualify through Tuesday's qualification tournament but advanced to the Main Draw by winning a lucky losers draw following the withdrawal of Brazilian tandem Ricardo Santos/Alvaro Filho, rallied past Brazil's fifth seeds Vitor Felipe/Evandro Oliveira 2-1 (22-24, 21-12, 15-7) before taking a 2-0 (21-17, 21-18) victory over Poland's 12th seeds Grzegorz Fijalek/Mariusz Prudel.

"It feels great! I feel blessed for the opportunity to play again," said Bourne. "Yeah, we are lucky losers, we are really lucky, you know," Hyden said. "It's nice and we were not expected to do much, so we just come out and hopefully jump on teams and they don' t know us very well."

With two wins in hands, Hyden/Bourne have already booked a berth in the 24-team knock-out stage with one last pool match to play on Thursday.

"We play steady right now," said Hyden, who finished 25th with Bourne at the season-opening Fuzhou Open last week. "First we wanna get out of the pool and then do the best we can."

The Netherlands 22nd seeds Jon Stiekema and Christiaan Varenhorst produced the other major upset on Wednesday as they claimed a surprising 2-0 (21-18, 21-15) victory over Brazil's sixth seeds Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt in a second round pool F play.

Newly-crowned Fuzhou Open champions Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo of Italy also posted a pair of wins to lead the standings in Pool G. The Italian seventh seeds beat Norway's Iver Andreas Horrem/Geir Eithun 2-1 (21-18, 14-21, 15-11) before downing Austria's Robin Seidl/Alexander Huber 2-0 (21-11, 21-19).

"We are playing very well, so this is very important for us. We want to continue like this," said Lupo. Having won their first World Tour title in the Fuzhou Open, the Italians hoped to win more this season. "We are going up. Last season we were third overall in the World Tour and now we have won the gold medal," said Nicola. "We wanna win all the tournaments. I know it's not possible, but our focus is this one."

Other top seeds winning two matches to lead respective groups are Philip Dalhausser/Sean Rosenthal of the United States, Pablo Herrera Allepuz/Adrian Gavira Collado from Spain, Latvia's Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins, Brazil's Pedro Solberg Salgado/Emanuel Rego and Shanghai Grand Slam title holders Jacob Gibb/Casey Patterson of the United States.

Thirty-two teams are playing a single round robin in eight groups with top three finishers from each group to advance to the 24-team knockout stage.

The 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar features a record purse of US$10.2 million with a season that extends from late April to mid-December competing at 21 venues in 18 countries. This year's FIVB World Tour includes a record 10 FIVB Grand Slam events, the inaugural Grand Slam Finale and 11 FIVB Open Tournaments throughout the world, helping expand the door for development of the sport even further.

The 10 FIVB Grand Slam competitions, all double-gender, have eight with $800,000 in total purses while both The Hague, Netherlands and the Long Beach, Calif., USA event will have $1 million each in prize money, the most in FIVB Grand Slam history.

Posted in: Eye on the ball

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